ATMs are the money disbursing machines which are found at every nook and corner of the world. People do not carry cash around with them and hard cash is given only when there is no other option to pay money. This article describes about how to use a your ATM card to withdraw money from the bank to pay in hard cash.
With changing times, a lot of things have changed about how we use our money from the bank and how we pay for services and goods. There was a time when you have to go to the bank to withdraw cash for every payment that you had to make. Whether you eat at your favorite
Restaurant, stay at a hill station hotel, buy your dresses and pay your utility bills, hard cash money was always required to get the particular services and goods. With the introduction of core banking, robust infrastructures, internet banking, Point of sales machines, paying for services now involves less use of hard cash and more use of plastic money. Plastic money refers to use of plastic cards which have a magnetic tape on it and also a micro-chip which contain your information in encrypted, coded form and can be read by ATM machines which then transfer the information to the core servers from which your bank account is debited and you get the money in your hand or the merchant gets paid into their accounts for their services and goods.
What are ATMs?
ATMs are popularly known as Any Time Money. So it means that you can get money at any time. Technically, ATM stands for Automated Teller Machine. These machines are actually Data Terminals. They are also called as Tail Circuits. The function of these data terminals is to convert the information of the user of the machine into signals which can be understood by the processor and then the end result can be provided. Think about Transducers which convert sound signals into electric signals.
Thus, when you enter your ATM card into the machine or you swipe the card into the machine, the information is collected by the machine and is sent to its host processor.
A host processor is a computer or a computing chip which acts as a gateway to send the signals collected by the ATM to the main computers. These host processors may either be a separate computer within the bank or may be just a chip on a motherboard which then connects through internet facilities and telephony, to the main computer and servers.
Click here to know more about how the central processors work out the signals and deliver the end result.
Components of a Automated Teller Machine
The ATM basically has input devices and output devices. Depending on the configuration and requirements of the bank, the number may vary. But a basic machin has 6 devices in which 2 are input devices and 4 are output devices. The Input devices are:
- Card Reader
The output devices are
- Display screen
- Cash Dispenser
Some machines may also have Cash input devices which can recognise the notes and their values. Some ATMs have touch screens which reduces the use of Keyboard and thus may be completely avoided in certain set ups.
All machines have security features like locking of door behind you, security personnel and Cameras installed.
How to feed information about yourself to the Teller Machine?
When you are standing in front of the machine, the first way that you can tell the machine that you are there, is by making the machine read your card. Card reading can be done either by inserting the card into the machine which it retains until the transaction is over and you press exit on the machine. Some machines allow you to retain the card with yourself and give your information just by swiping the card in the card reader. This swiping is again in different types. Some machines allow you to just swipe the card through the reading slit, while some machines allow you to insert and pull out. This insert and pull out can be either in horizontal insertion or in a vertical insertion.
In any of the above mentioned ways, the card reader component reads the magnetic strip. This magnetic strip is made of tiny magnetic particles which contain your information encoded and encrypted and can be only read with the bank software enabled card reader software.
After the machine recognizes you, it then undergoes through the verification process.
- Some machines ask you to enter any two digit code which is used to verify that you are a human and it utilizes this time to get a good video record of you.
- After this step, you are asked for Language options. The language options differs from country to country. Local languages are added into the machine which helps people who are not completely familiar with English. Nevertheless, English is still available everywhere, which is helpful for tourists and non locals, to have a smooth transaction.
- After the language option, you will be asked for your PIN code.PIN stands for Personal Identification Number and is generally a 4 digit number. Some countries opt for 6 digit codes.
After this information is provided and the machine is able to verify you, it then proceeds further and presents options to you which decides about what will be the end result of your transaction (affair!) with the Automated Teller Machine.
After verification, you are presented with various options. Some of the standard options include, Mini statement, Cash Withdrawal, PIN change, Balance inquiry, Fast Cash. Depending on the services provided by the bank, you may see other services like Money transfer, Cell Phone recharge as well.
- Mini Statement: When you select the Mini Statement option, the machine will print out a statement of the last 10 transactions that were done on your account.
- Cash Withdrawal: When you select this option, you are further presented with a screen to input the amount of cash required. This can be in multiples of 10, 50, 100 or 500. If your country has 1000 or 5000 valued notes, then you may find the option to put in an amount in that many multiples. Value and multiples can be decided by the bank according to the prevalent currency. In US and the European union, the ATM machine may dispense 5 and 10 valued currency where in countries like Vietnam, a million valued note may be dispensed by the machine.
- PIN change: This option allows you to change your PIN number. You will have to typically first enter your current PIN and then input the new PIN.
- Balance inquiry: Use this option to know your current balance. You may be presented by an option, stating whether you want a printed advice or not.
- Fast Cash: This option is to save your time to type a predetermined amount. When you select Fast Cash, you can simply select the pre-defined amount and the machine quickly dispenses that much amount. You do not need to type in the amount and then get it. Some machines can also dispense the last amount that you withdrew or some machines are even smart enough to determine the amount that you may require now on the basis of the most common amounts withdrawn by you.
- Money transfer: This option is handy if you want to avoid the bank premises to send money from one account to other. This can be done by Card to Card transfer where you have to input the Card number of the recipient’s card and the money gets transferred. This facility is not that popular because of the long numbers of the card and may be limited to the cards of the same bank. Most of the customers prefer to transfer money by internet banking or by giving advice across the counter.
- Cell phone recharge: If you have registered your cell phone number with the bank you may recharge your cell phone directly through your bank account. Some banks provide the ability to recharge other’s cell phone number as well.
How do ATMs get connected with their Host processors?
As discussed above, the host processor may be a separate piece of computer and processors in the concerned bank or may be a part of the ATM machine itself. Now this machine is connected to the host processor by telephony which can be through a slow Dial Up connection or through a Leased line thru-put connection.
Leased line connections are connected directly to the host processor through a four wire, point to point dedicated telephone line. Dial Up ATMs are connected to the host processor through a normal phone line with a modem, a toll free number or through a internet service provider with a local access number.
Thus, the installation and maintenance costs for a Leased line ATMs are very high than that of a dial up enabled automated teller machine.
The ATM also has what is called as a Electric Eye at the Cash Dispenser. This electric eye senses the thickness of the notes being dispensed, understands if any note has stuck to the other.
How to exit out of a ATM machine?
Once you have completed all verification, the machine will dispense you the money through the Cash Dispenser. Cash dispenser are usually located below the display screen. Sometimes they are on the side of the screen and can be easily identified by the long slit with a trap door on to it. Once money comes out of the cash dispenser, the machine beeps until you take the cash. If you do not take the money then the machine takes the money back inside and cancels the transaction. The machine keeps the money in the cash dispensing slit for about 20 seconds for you to collect it.
Thus, once you have collected the cash, the machine senses it that the collection has been successful and then prints out the withdrawal slip for you.
Once you have taken the withdrawal advice from the machine, you can then walk away from the machine. If you are in a ATM room, then you have to press the door unlock button or you may have to insert your card to unlock the door and then exit from the ATM room.